The tradition of meaningless wins in August continues

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One down, two more to go! Our Ravens insider Luke Jones joins Nestor to discuss the return of J.K. Dobbins to the field and another step toward getting the new Todd Monken offense installed and Lamar Jackson throwing the football to this rich room of wide receivers and targets.


play, lamar, talking, ravens, year, running, team, marcus peters, lamar jackson, quarterback, hardball, marlon humphrey, big, injuries, coming, felt, game, corners, player, ball


Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

What about w n s t test the Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are up past I wish I had a merely crabcake tour. I do I do. I do. I do. Here it is. I’ve got it. It’s an it’s a lottery scratch off. We’ll have these on the 29th We’re gonna be down in Glen Burnie at the Pappas. That’s our next event. We’re going to be at Ocean City this week. I’m going to be on the convention center floor with Senator Ben Cardin, as well as Senator Chris Van Hollen, Governor Westmore, lots of other dignitaries and folks that the list is too deep for me to even know because I don’t know who’s coming on but I’ll be at the beach. I’ll be the sober one there without the suntan and the sunburn and I’ll be the one that’s up late because the Orioles are playing late all week, which gives this guy a chance to at least breathe a little bit because he’s going to be on the backfields out in Owings Mills doing double duty. They don’t let me into either place. So he has to do two jobs. Look Jones joins us now with the at some point I’m gonna get you toothpicks for the rest of the month. So you could put like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble of toothpicks in your eyes staying up late with the Padres and running around with the Ravens but you you read some fake football on Saturday. I know you’re not going to make all these preseason events. But I I guess more than anything, the charades now over with with we’re gonna stick our starters in for a quarter and we’re gonna get two minutes it out or this. Now it’s down to who’s our backup quarterback? Can we keep them alive? At this point, and around the edges of you know, a couple guys looking okay, and a couple guys not looking so good. And who’s going to be the left guard? These are the esoteric questions that you pursued seven days a week out knowings middle salute. Yeah,

Luke Jones  01:40

I mean, and really with preseason football. And this has always been the case. I mean, even when the starters played are played sparingly and keep in mind, other teams still play their starters, I saw Patrick mahomes and Travis Kelce running around for Kansas City, I’ll be at only for a series. But it is interesting to see the range and how teams approach this. And I think a lot of it ends up being cyclical. I think once the Ravens at some point, you know, not saying it’s gonna be this year or even next year at some point, they’ll have a down season or they’ll start really slow in the regular season. And John Harbaugh or whoever’s kept coaching the team, at this point in time, will kind of revisit it and say, well, maybe we need to play our starters a little bit in the preseason. But I think the big key in looking at preseason football is not the outcome. Who cares? They won 20 to 19 Great, they won their 24th Straight preseason game. It’s the quirkiest, weirdest streak in sports. It’s fun to joke about a little bit but it doesn’t matter. In the big picture. It doesn’t really have any significance other than maybe they’re pretty good at picking rookie free agents to play in the summer. But so many of those guys never make the roster. You’re looking for individuals. You’re looking for position groups you’re looking for. As you mentioned, you mentioned the backup quarterback situation. Left Guard is very much a big question between John Simpson or the rookie big Salah who has played a lot with the first team over the course of the late spring and certainly the first couple of weeks of training camp. But for me, I think my biggest takeaway coming out of Saturday night’s game Nestor is my concern level for the depth or lack thereof at the quarterback position for this football team. Quarterback Josh Johnson Tyler Huntley, Huntley would be my ugly look better. He’s looked better since the start of training camp. I think the question is, do you want to carry a third quarterback? Well, there’ll be time to sort that out. But that’s still not that critical to the success of this football team. Lamar Jackson has to be on the field. If not, then it’s kind of a moot point. I don’t care who’s playing it. They’re not gonna be good enough. But you look at cornerback depth. And Marlon Humphrey is great. It’s one of the best corners in the NFL, you know, three time pro bowler, there’s no question just ask it. But after but after that. I mean, you look at the rest of this group of corners. They brought in rock Eocene, who is solid on paper, but the one thing that you could point out, and they’re experiencing it right now is he’s been a guy who’s had some injuries, not necessarily like these colossal season ending injuries, but injuries that have prevented him from playing a full 16 or 17 games. He’s been out with a knee for a couple of weeks now. Now, it’s not considered a long term injury. But he’s someone in a new system, trying to learn trying to learn a new defense trying to build chemistry with the rest of the secondary and he’s not out there but you look at beyond those two, even if we’re going to sign off on you’re seeing being the starter opposite Marlon Humphrey on the outside, who’s the nickel corner for this team? Who are the outside corners that that are going to be quality depth for you right now? And a lot of question marks right now. I mean,

Nestor Aparicio  04:42

Mr. Peters had a coming out party in his big preseason game the other day, right? Yeah. And

Luke Jones  04:47

for me, it’s not even that you had to resign Marcus Peters, but if you felt where he was at this point in his career, knowing what kind of personality he is on top of that, if you felt that okay, that’s probably not the best fit to bring him back. That’s fine. I’ll accept that. But you better make sure you’re covered there. Because we know we’ve seen it firsthand here for years. Now, there are a few ways other than your quarterback going down or other than your offensive line being a disaster. Other than those two factors. I’m not sure there’s something that can sink a contenders hopes of making a deep run faster than not having enough depth at quarterback, and you get a couple of injuries there. And before you know it, it’s Bombs away. They’re throwing the ball over your head, much like Miami did in week two last year. So I don’t know. And I was talking to a couple other members of the beat, you know, others who have covered the Ravens as long as I have. I’m not so sure that I’ve been as concerned about their cornerback depth where they stand at that position at this point in the season not talking in December if they’ve if they’ve had a ton of injuries like they did two years ago, but at this stage talking in mid August. I’m not sure I’ve been this concerned about them at cornerback since the days of them trying to talk themselves into shocky Brown and ASA Jackson being there. number three and number four corner being enough. And that’s that’s nine years ago at this point. So you did


a lot of pitching dude, anybody wants to go to the catalog of complaint department for Ozzie Newsome and Eric the cost in the secondary. You were that guy for years, right? I mean, and it’s not even that it was multiple years of that, but it was just I just have concerns about where they stand at that position and look, in fairness.

Luke Jones  06:30

I want to point this out because I want to be objective here. This isn’t just bash Eric to Costa. They do have a different defense. Now what they do with Mike McDonald, they play more zone. They do play off more than they did with wink where wink Martindale where their corners are press coverage on an island playing man to man all the time and blitzing and all those things. So do they need the same quality at the quarterback position as they maybe did, having both Pumphrey and Marcus Peters at a Pro Bowl level? Probably not. So

Nestor Aparicio  07:02

when when they made the investment and Ro Quan and they move this defense to a hardball defense and not a wink, you know, more conservative defense, I would say I mean, that they also balance that out and say, Well, we’re gonna spend money in different places we’re gonna have different and also draft picks. I mean, to your to your point, I mean, the secondary was a little bit of a mess because they missed on guys, when they missed on the kid from Florida, Florida State and they Yeah, and Elam and you know those guys they missed on all those guys in the secondary. There’s a call Hamilton’s not a miss right? I mean, it feels like and, you know, they spent a lot of money last year on safeties as well. So they feel more multiple on the backside, but I thought they loved Marcus Peters. This is part of me not having a press credential for last year and a half. I last I checked they loved him. Maybe he fell out of favor with hard balls for you to say not me, but like, to me it didn’t feel like it was about money in the end for him. Because I thought they loved him and he was a dog. I mean, JT the brick called me from Vegas and what did we get in and I’m like, oh, last I checked I mean he I mean he’s kind of on the edge the way you would want a cornerback to be but he guys rallied around him that they will miss that spirit in the same way they probably miscellaneous Campbell out there being a big boy. Row Quan Smith try is being that guy right?

Luke Jones  08:23

I think Marcus Peters and again, I don’t want to belabor the point too much because I’m it’s not even so much that I’m I was anti letting him go. It’s just have you done enough to replace what Marcus Peters meant to you a year or two ago or three years ago. And that’s where I have more my concern. Look, he’s a passionate guy that you don’t need to be around the team to see that. And we’ve seen that firsthand, even on the sideline where, you know, he’s got a fuse. He’s got a he’s got a temper tool. And he’s very passionate. That was 10 here way

Nestor Aparicio  08:53

in LA on the field that night when the Ravens kicked their ass. And he went after Jalen Ramsey and I was cheering feet away. And it was it was a it was a street fight. I mean, like, I mean, and he had been a raven five minutes at that point.

Luke Jones  09:07

Right, right. So the point is, when you have a guy that plays at a pro bowl or a an all pro level, who has that you’re okay with that, right? You tolerate, even even the times where it goes over the line, you tolerate that. I think what had happened was play on the field. And let’s face it, he’s 30. You know, he was coming off of an ACL.

Nestor Aparicio  09:31

They sold this ladder, right, it’s gonna get worse, right?

Luke Jones  09:35

Well, well, and I just think when you start talking about a player whose skills are diminishing someone look, maybe he’ll bounce back a little bit from where he used to be better than he was last year. But is he going to be the guy he was in 2019? Probably not. So that’s where you get into anytime you talk about a player who has allowed and at times difficult personality and look to Marcus Peters credit. We’re not talking about off field issues here. We’re not talking about that but just is the kind of guy that, you know, can be a very big presence in your locker room. And that can be good. And sometimes it’s not so good. If the skills diminished to a point where what’s happening on the field maybe isn’t matching up with some of what you’re dealing with in the locker room at times. And again, I don’t want to save as a 100% malcontent either. But that’s when you get to you start to get into is this the best fit anymore in their opinions? And they felt not and let’s, let’s be fair, it’s not as though Marcus Peters had teams beat down his door in mid March when he became a free agent. So he didn’t sign until the summer time so so it for me, it’s this was also

Nestor Aparicio  10:38

a safe landing spot for him. He was a malcontent. He played, um, he got here and he got hugged here. And that’s a tribute to hardball, being able to have you know, resuscitate guys and and make them a player and get them on the program, so to speak, and let them be them. But that’s what’s made this place popular for players, right?

Luke Jones  10:58

It has done and it’s why that narrative that’s existed for a decade now about how hardball, you know, post Super Bowl 47 He’s brought in all these choirboys, and they don’t have loud personalities, it. It’s nonsense. It’s people who have an agenda. It’s frankly, it’s just people don’t like John Harbaugh, and look, John Harbaugh has got his imperfections. There’s no question about that. And he’s got aware of the fact that they have two playoff wins and Super Bowl 47 As much as anyone but I don’t think it’s because all they haven’t brought in Steve Smith was an alpha male, Marcus Peters in the alpha male. They’ve had some other guys who were absolutely so Thomas now he’s Earl Thomas now, I don’t know if I call him an alpha male. I think Earl Thomas was just not at all. They didn’t do their homework and Earl Thomas, it’s that simple. They there were some red flags there that I think they were desperate to make a splash that offseason, and they just

Nestor Aparicio  11:49

Well, that’s where this Odell Beckham Jr. thing they’re all loving them up. He’s got purple hair, Satan kids, like all of that, you know, he comes in from the outside as someone the owner had to sit and talk to now you’re Steve’s now talking to more people he controls over to Sirius XM, about about, do we want him? Is he humble? And I’m thinking humble as he met Marlon Humphrey as he met the kicker. I mean, like, you know, like, that’s just such a bourgeois thing for Bushati to say about humility. It’s Can you play and I guess with Odell Beckham, my sniffers up for that, right for like him at that price in that room with this quarterback. Okay, maybe this is Terrell Owens, and they go to the Super Bowl. Maybe it’s combustible, because lord knows he was a combustible personality in New York and Cleveland and other places where, you know, he wants the ball, and they better be throwing the ball. I mean, that’s the one thing I kept thinking the other night watching. The trash that was out there running around, is this guy setting the edge these simple questions were making about defense and how the other team was playing it. But they didn’t see any element of the offense for me. Like, I don’t know what they’re going to be. None of us are going to know you see the backfield. But they have to go out against Houston. Oh, three and a half, four weeks from now. It’s the first time we’re gonna see the car out on the road. And I am still dying to see even against a bad team and they should beat us to 34 to 14, I’ll tell you right now, that’s that’s my pick. You know, but how the offense matriculates the ball down the field, how they throw the ball, the balance they have and what they’re trying to do offensively. Because it’s all you know, fireworks and roses right now with Todd monkeys, you know, oh, LeVar I love my cord. I mean, and it sounds to me, and and you talk about propaganda, Sandusky, Woodson and Evan the other night and what they have to do for Michelle Andress and selling tickets and ravens productions, not really dissimilar to Kevin Brown really when I sit and watch it, and what they’re trying to get across. But here’s the narrative. If Kevin Byrne were here, he he’d wink at me and say you’re on to us, because they’re so cunning out there. It feels to me, like Lamar had a real issue with Roman. And it feels to me, like all these months later. Now, the big talking point that John wants to get across in the press conferences, because his players all watch the press conferences, of course, that Lamar is heard by the coordinator, and the coordinators telling the world I listened to him now. And Lamar is like he’s listening to me now. And that is a big part of the narrative. Now, whether that equates to better football, more passing more running less run. I have no idea if Lamar is the offensive coordinator, what this would look like and what Lamar would really want to do, especially now that Lamar has been paid, he’s not making business decisions anymore, allegedly. But his specialness is in him running the ball. And I don’t know that they have any specialists in their running attack yet. And they’re doing things differently. The whole, the way the offensive linemen are setting up is completely different, right? Like, this is all different. And then Lamar is gonna lose the wristband and have a whole new language in three and a half weeks. And they’re gonna go out there and execute this with mercenaries like obj and Batemans. Who are forgotten men and Aguilar, who’s trying to come back and say, flowers, who is the joy stick now? And where’s Mark Andrews and getting the ball and all of this it’s heavy. I’m gonna have a talk football in a while. But I sat here watch this for three hours, years. And I’m like, what is going to be yes, for the next three weeks? Because we’re not going to see the offense for a month.

Luke Jones  15:54

Yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, go look at the list of players who didn’t play tonight, so and even if they did, it would be very vanilla. And that was that’s the way it always is. I mean, that’s not a Todd Monken thing. That’s teams. They did that with Greg Rome. And they did that with Cam camera. And they did that with Gary Kubiak. I mean, you know, go back. And that’s just how it works this time of year. But, you know, going back to what you mentioned about Lamar talking about the coordinator. First of all, I’ll say this, my early impressions of Todd Monken. And that’s from me listening to him during press conferences and talking to other people around the team. He’s no nonsense. I mean, as far as any propaganda. There’s none of that coming from him now. What you said as far as what Lamar had to say about Todd Monken. And I don’t think it was difficult to connect the dots when you considered where wide receivers were with Greg Roman, but wide receivers also said how much they love, Lamar. Well, if the wide receivers weren’t happy with Greg Roman, but they love Lamar Jackson. That’s, it stands to you know, it’s not a great leap to think that Lamar Jackson wasn’t crazy about Greg Roman either, then because we know Lamar likes to throw the football. I mean, it’s not to say that he’s going to throw it 50 times a game, but he is very confident in his ability to throw the football and he should be because he is a better thrower than a lot of people do want to give him credit for it doesn’t mean he’s the best in the NFL.

Nestor Aparicio  17:19

But he said he isn’t that great targets either. So

Luke Jones  17:21

let’s let’s write it. Yeah. And that’s part of it. That’s part of it. So

Nestor Aparicio  17:24

probably one of the reasons Greg Roman wasn’t throwing the ball around. Well, or,

Luke Jones  17:29

and or if he talked to other people in the organization, there was a thought of why would we bring in these great wide receivers and expensive wide receivers if Greg Romans is going to have Lamar and Lamar wants to throw to the tight ends anyway? It there’s such a chicken or the egg kind of?

Nestor Aparicio  17:44

Well, that’s what makes this year’s Yeah, this how this does is you say play no doubt,

Luke Jones  17:49

no doubt. I mean, I think what’s been interesting, because there’s been a lot of talk and look, I mean, you mentioned the wrist band, by the way, wrist bands came back one this week at practice, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to come off. I don’t really care. I think that’s such a weird narrative to fix or fixate on Tom Brady wear a wristband, his whole career. I mean, he famously wrote on his wrist band when he played the Ravens back in the day, fine number 20. On every play, right? Remember that. I mean, that’s, that’s how it works. So that part of it doesn’t, doesn’t bother me or faze me or anything like that. But when you look at this offense, they are going to be different, they want to play with a quicker tempo, we’re going to see a lot more 11 personnel, three wide receiver sets. I think that’s what’s been fascinating with the early indications of Patrick Ricard, at least doing some work with the offensive line that he might become, you know, kind of a hybrid fullback slash backup lineman on game day for you, almost coming full circle, because he started on the defensive line. So now he’s coming full circle and the flipping sides. But there is a lot of curiosity. And I think there’s been a lot of talk about how they perform so far this summer. I’ve said it a lot. It’s been a work in progress. There’s good. And then there’s other times where you say, Oh, this isn’t so good. Good, just yet. And by the way, that’s okay. But one thing I’ll caution everyone, and this goes back to what you were saying in terms of this time of year, and it’s not just the ravens, the 31 other teams are, are selling the same stuff to their fan bases right now. Same optimism, same thoughts of hey, someone’s got to win the Superbowl. Why can’t we do it, but it does come down to with this offense with this passing game. With this change in philosophy that isn’t going run heavy to pass heavy but certainly more run centric to a much more balanced approach as far as what they want to do that when you’re aiming for that upside and having a higher ceiling, there is the chance for a little bit of more variance, a little more of a lower floor at times. If you’re putting the ball in the air more any quarterback Lamar Jackson or Patrick mahomes or whoever you want to throw out there, you throw the ball more inherently you’re increasing the probability that you’re going to throw some interceptions. You know, that’s just that’s math right. So There is some curiosity about that. And there is some uncertainty as far as how it plays out. But the good news is, they have a lot of talented football players and they have for their five returning offensive linemen, you know, as long as they figure out left guard that it’s not this major liability. You know, whether it’s Simpson or big solid playing there, you do have Ronnie Stanley to the to that players left and you have Linda balm to their right. I think there’ll be okay there as long as they get someone who can be decent, stolid there. I think that’s if you do that, you have the makings of a really good to excellent offensive lines. So you have that you have one of the two or three best tight ends and football. JK Dobbins assuming when he gets back on the field, because again, he has no other recourse but to play him sitting out the season, what’s that going to do? Maybe it keeps them healthier, but he’s not getting a big contract that he wants by not playing, you need to play because he’s got to kind of go and do something over a full season, which, you know, he hasn’t played a full season in three years. So


Nestor Aparicio  21:01

they have high five, his and scenesse to be just unacceptable, as a fan as a media member, as a coach as a leader, you know, just, you know, fine if you don’t want to practice because you don’t want to rip your knee up to say that it’s fine. It’s good, right? You know that? You know, like, that’s, that’s cool. I mean, we all understand that. But the angst about not getting paid, dude, I mean, stop.

Luke Jones  21:25

Look, he’s been really good in his career when he’s been on the field. I mean, go look at his career yards per carry. It’s excellent. He was excellent for them down the stretch last year, even without Lamar Jackson being on the field. So that’s a credit to him. However, he still has to do that for a full season. You know, we’ve seen running backs look great for five or six games in a row, you know, we’ve seen those stretches, he’s got to do it for a full season. If he’s not on the field, sometime in the next week. I think that narrative really starts to shift in terms of hardball, and the rest of the team being patient with the situation because now you’re getting into that territory, is he going to be ready for the start of the regular season to be his best player, which is what the Ravens want. And it’s sure as heck what JK Dobbins needs for him to get paid by someone, whether it’s the ravens, or one of the 31 other teams, so he’s got to get out there. And I would think if he’s not out there very, very soon, I think you’re going to see a very pronounced shift in the tone that the team has taken, which for the most part publicly, has been patient and tolerating this approach that he’s decided to take.

Nestor Aparicio  22:34

Luke Jones will be like David Byrne in the talking heads. He’ll be staying up late watching Oriole baseball all week. I will be at the beach on Thursday and Friday at Mako chatting with senators Ben Cardin, as well as Chris Van Hollen, Governor Westmore, and lots of other folks. So you’ll hear all about at the Maryland crab cake tour. We’re taking it down to the beach with the Maryland lottery and window nation. We’re back at Pappas on the 29th I’m wearing my state fair shirt, I got to get over to El Guapo. Get down to that that basement and that that barcade that they have in the basement. They’re in Catonsville. Hopefully Dan Snyder will be imprisoned by the time the Ravens get together with the commanders on Monday night. That’s just hoping I mean, that’s not probably a real reality at this point. But what is reality, Luke? Is that that this John hardball incredible preseason run could somehow be crashed down upon by the other team here in the great three state of Maryland. We’ll find out more about that looks up all week. You can find them at Baltimore, Luke, you’ll be in Owings Mills on the backfields all week long because they don’t let me go. And then next week, the Orioles come home. And we’ll have to figure all that out as the Ravens play two games next week to meaningless games that you won’t want to watch on Monday and Saturday, but just put in your calendar anyway. It’s great to have meaningful baseball right now. I’m Nestor he’s Luke. We are wn St. am 1570, Towson Baltimore and we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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